Birmingham Live, 19th January 2024
MP Preet Kaur Gill believes Birmingham City Council "needs to do more" to ensure children are not missing education in the city
A Birmingham MP has raised concerns about the high number of children missing education in the city. School absence levels are still historically high since the pandemic and stats revealed 1 in 4 children missed out on education in 2021/22 in Birmingham.
Following the news, Preet Kaur Gill MP, having been a children's manager in the city wrote to The Children’s Trust and Birmingham City Council to ask what is being done to address the issue considering children missed 10% or more of their education.
Stats showed that Birmingham’s pupil absence was higher than national average for several groups of pupils such as children with special educational needs and disabilities, and children with Child in Need and Child Protection Plans for SEND schools.
Preet Gill MP said: “The number of children persistently missing out on education is deeply concerning. Of course, many students miss much out on much more than 10% of their schooling and disappear altogether from the system.
“More needs to be done to end persistent absence and ensure every child is getting the high-quality education they deserve. This is especially the case for children where safeguarding is a real concern – these children must be in school, and I want the city to be proactive in addressing that cohort.
"Only Labour is ambitious for all our children. We will legislate for a new Register of Pupils to keep track of those not in mainstream schooling, to get a grip with persistent non-attendance.”
Birmingham City Council responded to the MP saying it is “working consistently to improve attendance for children and young people in the city” and mentioned their Inclusion Strategy and a School Attendance Strategy.
MP Preet Gill believes that is not enough as she says the strategy "has not yet gone to Cabinet and is only due to potentially launch later in the year."
Birmingham City Council has been contacted for comment.